This post actually stems from a deep think I had early on in the new year when I first got back to work following the glorious holidays.
Part of my job involves calling other companies to track down orders and I realised with each call I made, I would start the conversation with ‘Hi, I’m just calling to….’.
I think that because I’d had a little bit of time off, I was thinking a little bit more about what I was saying rather than just reeling it off like I normally do. So, because I genuinely had nothing better to do, I started taking a tally of every time I said the word ‘just’ on the phone throughout the day… it wasn’t good.
I did consider the reason for my using it so often and came up with a few inconclusive theories:
We can justify anything with the word ‘just’. As in ‘I’m just going to lean past you to pick up my coffee’ or ‘I’m just going to rip out your lungs and wear them as a fascinator, hope that’s ok’.
Well Trained Woman
There’s an unproven social stereotype that women over use qualifiers in their speech, this could be an example of this after growing up in a conservative household
Shy and Introverted
This does not mean I’m not self assured, it just means that I don’t like making my presence overly felt unless I have to. Call it ‘picking my battles’, if you will.
I couldn’t really pick one reason and it really doesn’t matter – being mindful of your own habits in speech is interesting enough (and frustrating, I know I use the word ‘awesome’ way too much but can’t seem to train myself out of it – how about you? Got any words you’re prepared to fess up to over using? ).
After considering it for a particularly uneventful hour, which was the hour AFTER I accidentally dropped an entire bowl of porridge on my office chair, I decided that ‘just’ had to go.
‘I’m just calling to check up on something’? No. ‘I’m calling to find out why you haven’t held up your end of the bargain’. ‘Just’ nothing!
In the end, it was more of a career choice than anything – being seen to be so ‘weak’ in my speech by other businesses and my own colleagues isn’t acceptable to me any more, I’m damn good at what I do and in certain situations can inspire fear in the hearts of those around me. Also, is there a single sentence in existence that benefits from using the word?
It’s been about 6 weeks since I made this decision to cut back on all the ‘just’ and to be honest, I think I forget about it a lot of the time but I find people are a lot more receptive to your requests if you ditch the apologies and subconscious grovelling for interrupting their day to ask them to do something for you that they should be doing anyway. I’m going to try to make a concentrated effort for the rest of 2016 to be tougher and more mindful of how I phrase things, see how that works out for me.